The History of Western Thought is a vehicle for public intellectuals, writers, and educational theorists to consider the “perennialist” or “essentialist” philosophy behind “Great Books” curricula. The perennialist philosophy suggests that certain works throughout time have timeless value to developing strong, rigorous, intelligent, and bold citizens. The blog focuses on educational reform, consideration of basic and fundamental issues of human nature and society, and how best to teach students the most important lessons ever taught, and more importantly, ever learned.
The idea was first conceived by secondary school educator, Alexander Schmid, as a place for like-minded persons to gather in a democratic community of thinking and sharing. Though he deeply favors the seminar method in terms of teaching, in this digital age, one’s thoughts are not limited by proximity, and therefore, it seemed only right to begin to share in as many relevant ways as possible.
The initial inspiration for this particular blog was to share bits and snippets of writings that would some day end up as the rough material for a book on education in theory and practice. This plan is still moving forward, but is now part of a larger plan to champion “perennialist educational philosophy” through lectures, seminars, papers, videos, pod-casts, and books.
We are not a “soulless” corporation. We are not a platform for legislative reform. We are simply teachers, thinkers, and writers–educators on the whole– who want to teach students basic skills: to read, to write, and to think.
It is our theory, which is being borne out by our success in the classroom, that a “Great Books” model of education–predominantly in the English classes–offers the strongest possible vehicle for the forming of the mind.
It is the purpose, then, of this page, project, and the association attached to it, to spread awareness, educate the public on the subject, and continue to develop and enhance the curricula, theory, and practice of Great Books education in the here and now.
The Director of the program, Mr. Alexander Schmid, is currently a curriculum designer, educational theorist, and secondary education teacher at a California charter school, and he can be reached at TheHistoryofWesternThought.gmail.com.